A federal judge has ordered that the state of Missouri must provide a transgender killer serving a life sentence with hormone replacement therapy, hair removal treatment, and access to 'gender-affirming' canteen items.
Jessica Hicklin, 38, is a preoperative transgender woman who was born James Hicklin and was convicted of fatally shooting a man in 1995 during a drug-related crime in Clinton, Missouri.
Federal Judge Noelle Collins on Friday granted in part a preliminary injunction sought by Lambda Legal on Hicklin's behalf.
According to the judge's order, Hicklin was diagnosed with gender dysphoria in 2015.
Hicklin is seen left in a 2013 mugshot and right more recently. On Friday, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction order Missouri to provide Hicklin hormone therapy
Evaluation notes cited in the lawsuit from Dr. Meredith Throop said that Hicklin 'continues to experience much discomfort and anxiety surrounding [her] assigned gender [(male).]'
The notes added that the inmate reported 'occasional feelings of hopelessness' and 'distress pertaining to male attributes (body hair, lack of gender affirming canteen items, male attire)'.
A second evaluation in 2016, by psychiatrist Evelynn Stephens, found that Hicklin described an 'overwhelming feeling of dread,' in the context of 'thinning hair on head' and 'increasing intrusive self harm [sic] thoughts to remove own testicles in order to remove offensive testosterone', according to the suit.
Though the doctors recommended hormone therapy for Hicklin, the state of Missouri has a 'freeze-frame policy' that only allows inmates who were receiving hormone therapy at the time of incarceration to get continued treatment from the state.
Hicklin (above) was diagnosed with gender dysphoria in 2015, according to court documents
Federal prison policy allows inmates to receive hormone therapy if an evaluation determines that they need it.
Lambda Legal filed suit on Hicklin's behalf in April 2017, asking the court to order the state to provide the inmate immediate access to hormone therapy, permanent body hair removal as well as access to 'gender-affirming' canteen items.
Hicklin is serving life without parole for first-degree murder
The Friday ruling is a temporary injunction granting those requests until the lawsuit proceeds to a trial, which is set for May.
The suit alleges that the freez-frame policy violates the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
'This decision is such a welcome relief,' said Demoya Gordon, Transgender Rights Project Attorney for Lambda Legal, in a statement on Friday. 'Jessica will finally have access to the potentially life-saving medical care she has waited so many years for.'
'Forcing her to go without medically necessary treatment was unnecessarily cruel and the source of a lot of pain and anguish for her,' Gordon continued.
'Ensuring that Ms. Hicklin receives constitutionally adequate medical care while the lawsuit proceeds was the humane thing to do.'
Hicklin is currently incarcerated in Potosi Correctional Center, serving life without parole with a concurrent sentence of 100 years, for the September 24, 1995 murder of Sean Smith.
Hicklin is currently incarcerated in Potosi Correctional Center (above), serving life without parole and 100 years concurrently, for the September 24, 1995 murder of Sean Smith